Here’s a scary fact, more than 4 billion people around the world own a mobile phone, while only 3.5 billion own a toothbrush. It says a lot about the digital age we’re living in doesn’t it? Apparently the smartphone bubble of social networks, email, apps and tailored search engines is now more compulsory than clean teeth! Smartphones are anything but simple devices to make calls and send texts now. They are more like a second brain or a personal safe that holds all of your private information, photos, financial information and password pins. Sadly however, every time the technology world advances, so does the criminal world. In light of the newer dangers of cyber criminals, information leaks, hackers, data loss and other security breaches, it’s important that we stay vigilant. Here are some of the most prominent threats, and how to avoid them.


Privacy & Apps

Within weeks of its release, the popular gaming app Pokémon Go had more daily users than Twitter. Yes, Twitter! Not long after it was found that Niantic Inc. were given access to huge amounts of personal data from their users, after requesting full access to their Google accounts upon installation. Unfortunately, many apps do this without guaranteeing where your data may end up. Any apps that you download may request access to anything from your precise location to your call history. Here are some things you can do to increase your mobile data security in this area:

1.      Check privacy settings

You can check which apps have access to your personal data in Settings > Privacy. Here you can also disable your location services, if you’d prefer your phone not to track your location.

2.      Beware of third party app vendors

Sometimes untrusted apps that contain malware can popup as you are browsing on your phone or tablet. To prevent yourself downloading these types of apps, wherever possible, you should choose to download directly from the app vendor’s secure website. This will give you a greater chance at dodging fake apps operating under a real brand name.

3.      Check reviews

It’s recommended that you read the reviews of the apps you are downloading. This can help you identify ill performing apps or counterfeit apps that are riddled with malware.

4.      Install new software updates

Don’t delay your software updates. Your phone’s updates often contain patches to protect your handset against cybercriminal activity. So stay up to date!

5.      Don’t click suspicious emails

When opening emails on your phone, only click the links inside when you are 100% sure of the source. If you know and trust the sender of the email, it is generally safer.

Need help? Install MyPermissions

To uncover which apps pose a threat to the sensitive information on your phone, download MyPermissions. This app can also help you control your app security.

Internet Shopping

The Identity Theft Resource centre states that last year 781 data breaches were tracked in the US, and approximately 71 were banking related. This nearly double the amount of breaches recorded in 2014. With an increasing number of people using personals finance apps, robo-advisor sites and mobile wallet software, it’s likely we could see an increase in financial hacks in this area. So is there a way to protect yourself? Here are a few ways to stay vigilant when purchasing online with your mobile or tablet:

1.      Check security certifications

Before making payments online it’s important that you check the company’s security certifications. You’ll be able to find this in the security or privacy disclosures.

2.      Trust security programs that are validated

Make sure the privacy settings and security programs the company has in place have been validated by a third party. Businesses like Trustwave, Verizon and Coalfire do this.

3.      Pay only when protected

Do not make payments with a company that is not protected.

Smartphone Data

Here’s another scary fact, in Britain over 100,000 mobile phones are dropped down the toilet every year. That’s not to mention accidents like smashed screens, stolen phones and mobile data loss. In a phone crisis the first thing you think of is your data: text messages, photos, videos and contacts. What will become of them?

It’s important to create regular backups of your phone in iTunes or iCloud. This way, if your phone is stolen, misplaced, damaged or goes swimming in the toilet, you will still have a recent backup to restore to. Here are some ways you can recover deleted data from your phone in a catastrophe:

1.      Restore from a previous backup

If you have an iPhone, once you have replaced or repaired the phone, you can restore to an old backup of the phone in your iTunes or iCloud.

2.      Recover deleted mobile data

If you don’t have a recent backup to recover from, you will be able to recover data straight from the device with a program like Enigma Recovery. The software scans your Android, iPhone or SD card to recover your deleted data.